How to Become a Foreign Affairs Officer


Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you to become a public policy advisor depends on the business and industry you apply at. Those looking for an entry positions are likely to need a masters degree from an accredited international relations, public administration or political science program. If you are looking for a junior level assistant position, then an bachelors degree is recommended. Those looking to get into a competitive or advance position may benefit from earning a Ph.D degree along with significant internship experience.

Launch your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as a foreign affairs officer.

How Much Does a Foreign Affairs Officer Make?

$102,000 (median salary, for salaries in your state, click on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:

+1,400 additional people employed


(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Foreign Affairs Officer pages) 

The Best Places to Become a Foreign Affairs Officer

While foreign affairs officers with the U.S. State Department work in almost every country around the world, there are also many jobs that need to be filled in the private sector and closer to home. However, the majority of this are based in, and around, Washington, D.C.

Why Become a Foreign Affairs Officer

The government will always need new waves of foreign affairs officers, and that steady growth is reflected in the estimated job increase for these workers of 8% over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Foreign affairs officers work for the American government and are directly responsible for formulating and maintaining good standing relations with other countries. Working in Foreign Affairs can provide an extremely exciting and rewarding look into other cultures and the machinations that make the world interlock together.

And for those interested in sticking closer to home, there are many think tanks and political organizations and media outlets that could use you.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a  Foreign Affairs Officer

  • International Affairs
  • International Development Studies
  • International Science and Technology Policy
  • Security Policy Studies
  • International Trade and Investment Policy
  • Global Communication
  • Asian Studies
  • European, Russian & Eurasian Studies
  • Latin American & Hemispheric Studies
  • Middle East Studies
  • Foreign Languages
  • U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Era

Degree Options for Foreign Affairs Careers

Bachelor’s Degree
If you intend to work for the State Department, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree such as political science, economics, and mathematics. Actually, any major is excepted because everyone must pass the Foreign Service Examine to be considered for employment.

These days a special premium is placed on foreign languages so picking up a few extra (Arabic, Chinese and Spanish are particularly helpful) would be a good idea.

Master’s Degree
Most employees at the State Department and Think Tanks around the world seem to put a special emphasis the extra letters that come after names on business cards. For example, Joe Smith, JD, PhD. Graduate degree programs are designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the contemporary issues in international affairs.

An advanced degree also allows for the time to choose one or more specialized areas of training.

The doctorate studies are often a continuation of the type of work done in most graduate degree programs. Those undertaking these advanced studies are prepared for teaching and research potions at universities as well as high-level governmental roles.